Tuesday, December 8, 2015

M31: The Great Galaxy in Andromeda

Its taken over a year of imaging and collaboration with Jim Roselli to get here, but I've finally made an image that I am truly proud of.  An image of the Andromeda Galaxy, made with some modest gear:  A Canon 550d (t2i) a Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 kit lens, and a kenko skymemo equatorial mount.  Took 100 120 second images of the galaxy at f/8 and ISO 1600. 95 of the best images were median stacked in deep sky stacker. The outputted image was then processed in Pixinsight and some final tweaks were made in Photoshop CC, this is the image.
Judson Graham

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pleiades and California Nebula widefield

A widefield image of the Pleiades and California Nebula taken with a Canon 550d 50mm 1.8 II lens at F/5.6 and ISO 3200 95 2.5 min. subs were registered and median stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, and processed in Photoshop CC

Judson Graham

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tim's image of the M1 Crab nebula

Tim Schott took this image a couple nights ago when it was nice and clear as well as surprisingly warm for the season. The colors came out very well. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Solar Test Using new Point Grey CCD Camera

Here's a stack I made of a Ha test that Vladimir Alexandrov did before I got to the observatory on the 18th.
This image has very fine detail right from the camera, making it easy for me to combine the images.
This is the same prominence mentioned in my previous post.... just some hours prior.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Huge Solar Prominence

I went to the observatory today to pick up a Ha scope for my outreach at a local high school this coming Tuesday. There was a huge QO team (8 people!) with all the solar scopes already outside showing the public the sun between clouds. It seems we have a lot of excellent new QO's in training.

When I looked through the 90mm Ha scope I was amazed to see this massive prominence coming out of sunspot (probably will be given #2436... it wasn't yet numbered at the time of this writing) and then crossing the limb to retreat back into the solar chomosphere on the back side. 
Beautuful! That view from the 90mm Ha filter on the Teleview 80 is v-e-r-y impressive.
I plan to have my 102mm ES with a Lunt Solar Diagonal alongside this scope for the kids.
It's supposed to be a nice clear day, but I'm still keeping the fingers crossed.
I took this image with my Samsung S5.
Keith Marley

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tim Schott made a great SHOT!!!!

Here is an image he took this past week of NGC 891, a galaxy about the same size of the Milky Way and around 30 million light years away in the constellation Andromeda. His PHD Guiding software appears to be doing a fine job giving nice round stars for ten minutes on his mobile setup (INSIDE New Jersey for cryin' out loud). The dust clouds that block much of the galaxy's light are distinctly visible.
This is an great image for an 8" scope..... compare his image to the one at the bottom with 12x more time exposure and probably from a darker sky site. 
Excellent work Tim!
You've come a long way in a short time.

Image by NJAA member Tim Schott

Image by R. Jay GaBany

The bottom image was produced using a RCOS half meter telescope, Apogee Altra U16M camera ($13K) camera and Astrodon E-Series Filters.
Exposure times:  1,710 minutes Luminance, 120 minutes Red, 120 minutes Green, 120 minutes Blue (all 1x1). 
Some of this info was reproduced from www.Cosmotography.com
Keith Marley

Monday, October 5, 2015

Some Deep Sky Images From Member Perry Arts

NGC 6946 – Fireworks Galaxy
Taken: 2015-07-17, 2015-07-22, 2015-07-24, 2015-07-25
Location: Branchburg, New Jersey
Telescope: CPC Deluxe 1100HD @f/10
Camera: Nightscape 8300 OSC, no binning
Exposures: 65 - 180 sec subs
Capture software: PHD, Maxim DL
Processing software: PixInsight, Photoshop
NGC 7293 – Helix Nebula
Taken: 2015-09-14, 2015-09-15, 2015-09-16
Localtion: Branchburg, New Jersey
Telescope: CPC Deluxe 1100HD Hyperstar @f/2
Camera: Nightscape 8300 OSC, no binning
Exposures: 40 - 180 sec subs
Capture software: PHD, Maxim DL
Processing software: PixInsight, Photoshop
NGC 7635 – Bubble Nebula
Taken: 2015-08-15, 2015-08-16, 2015-08-23, 2015-09-07
Location: Branchburg, New Jersey
Telescope: CPC Deluxe 1100HD @f/10
Camera: Nightscape 8300 OSC, no binning
Exposures: 57 - 180 sec subs
Capture software: PHD, Maxim DL
Processing software: PixInsight, Photoshop
Taken: 2015-08-13
Location: NJAA
Camera: Fuji S5 Pro DSLR
Lens: 17mm
Exposures: 30sec f/4 ASA 800
Processing software: Photoshop
Images by Perry Arts

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PLEASE give your name when you post

Identify yourself and claim ownership for your work on the blog please.
It will be greatly appreciated by our readers and for future follow-up.

Monday, September 21, 2015

INSTRUCTIONS: For Re-calibrating Luna II

We all Make mistakes, weather it be forgetting to turn off the coffee pot, spilling a drink, or not hibernating a telescope. So if you have crashed Luna II or are going to use it and think you may, this is the instructions for re-calibration of Luna II our second largest telescope at NJAA.

So, you've crashed Luna II or you showed up and it was not calibrated, but don't worry this will only take 10 minuets or so! If you are already familiar with Celestron's three star alignment, don't Read any further, because you already know how to align the scope.

Step 1: Switch Position. Select a three star alignment using the 6 and 9 keys to scroll. It will now say "SET SWITCH POSITION". Press "ENTER" the telescope will now slew to the polar north. Since  Luna II on a permanent mount, it is already polar aligned, so you can just say "ENTER or ALIGN" to that; keep in mind that the Celestron paddle has instructions scrolling on it all the times and press the keys it tells you to!

Step 2: First Alignment Star. After you have completed the first step you should be on a screen that says "SELECT FIRST ALIGNMENT STAR". Using the 6 and 9 keys, scroll through the list of stars and pick a bright one or a star you are familiar with. Since this is the first star, the telescope will be considerably off mark. Use the attached Telrad finder scope and center the star with the arrow pad on the paddle. You can change the slew speed by pressing "RATE" and then the number you want. Usually I use speed 9 for centering the object in the Telrad, and 5 for fine adjustment in the eyepiece; anything below 4 is so slow that the movement will be unnoticeable- even at 3910mm! Once the star is in the center ring of the Telrad, it should be in the eyepiece. Center the object in the eyepiece in the same manor that you did with the Telrad, but with a slower slew speed. When you're done press "ALIGN"   

Step 3: Second Alignment Star. The procedure is the same as the first alignment star, but the telescope will be more exact, the Telrad may not even be needed. please REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE TELRAD, because its annoying when you show up and the thing dosen't work!
When you're done press "ALIGN".

Step 4: Third Alignment Star: The procedure is the same as the Second alignment star however it should be pretty close to centered in the eyepiece. Center it and press "ALIGN". now you can press "UNDO" until you are at the main "CGE READY" screen, unless you want to add more alignment stars.

Congratulations! You Have Successfully Realigned Luna II! Now go go browse the cosmos with Celestron's most advanced mount and telescope!  Thanks for Reading,
Judson Graham

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lunar ~ Venus Conjunction was on 10 Sept 2015

I almost forgot to post my shot of the conjunction of the Moon and Venus last week.
I was staying at the shore in Ocean Grove, NJ when I remembered the event was early that morning of 10 September 2015.
I ran outside and it looked great so I used the only thing I had to capture it ~ my phone camera...
Keith Marley

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Solar Activity Is Moderate

The Sun is currently in Cycle 24 and moving toward minimum which should happen around 2018-2019. We are still in the maximum half of the cycle but the sun seems a bit under-the-weather so to speak....
For those AstroPhotographers that like imaging the sun, a great link to identify the sunspots is: 

Moderate size sunspots 2415 & 2418 are approaching midway through the face of the sun at this time while 2414 is soon departing. I took these two days ago so it has rotated a bit from these images.

Sunspots 2415 & 2418:

Sunspot 2414:
White-light solar imaging is easy and fun so start imaging....
Keith Marley

Saturday, September 5, 2015

NJAA AstroPhotography Group Image Publication - NGC7000

The journey to deep field AstroPhotography is fraught with technical challenges all along the way.
However, when dedication and perseverance are applied, the results are indeed rewarding.  
The NJAA AstroPhotography Group has combined their efforts to capture NGC7000 and The Cygnus Wall using Luna 1.
Luna 1 is configured with a Takahashi TOA130 Refractor (1100mm) and a Starlight Xpress 8300 monochrome camera.  For this capture, a narrow band HA (Hydrogen Alpha) filter was used.  Automated digital focusing was applied between subs to maintain uniformity.  During the capture, the camera was electronically cooled to help reduce the inherent noise in CCD’s from long exposures.  This link will take you to view a gallery of images showing Luna 1’s imaging system. 
The image is a series of 16 x 20min captures for a total of 5.3 hours of total exposure that was gathered over several days.  
Post processing included registration, stacking, calibration, noise reduction, minor levels adjustment and cosmetic retouching.  Final crop and frame to enhance the viewing.
As you can see in this remarkable image, there is an extraordinary amount of nebulosity detail to investigate.  Also the ability of the telescope to resolve the smallest degree of separation between the stars is simply amazing.
This image is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished by our NJAA members.
NJAA Members interested in joining the group to learn more about AstroPhotography, be sure to attend our meetings that take place the first Friday of each month at 8:00PM.  
Also, be sure to read “Research and AstroPhotography” on the “Members Only" page so that you can signup for the groups eMail list and be notified when members are going to the observatory to image for the evening.
If you are not a member of NJAA and would like to join to participate in our group, please visit www.njaa.org.
Clear Skies,
NJAA AstroPhotography Group

Thursday, August 27, 2015

No luck Wednesday night!

Wednesday night I took my 102mm ES refractor out to get some lunar CCD shots.... but my mount would have none of that!
For some reason it slewed nowhere near the moon, so I tried a couple more times from  the Home Position. Finally I did a factory reset and tried one more time. I wasn't close and now it started slewing a little while after it stops . It started slewing on it's own a couple times then I shut it down. 
About then two kids riding their bikes home stopped to see what was going on so I brought my 10" Dob out to show them the moon and Mizar before some clouds covered most of the sky.
At least they seemed to have fun and one kid even saw a "shooting star".
So the night ended up a bust for me but some kids had a nice time at least... it's not all bad.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Moon at 53% with nice terminator features

Tonight I took the Orion 10" f4.7 Dob out to get a quick look at the half-moon.
The terminator held it's usual secrets in high relief making the lava plains look rippled and bumpy.
I labeled a few Apollo landing sites below:

I found an Apollo 12 hand-held photo of the Sinus Aestuum lava features so I added it to a closer image of the terminator crossing the Sinus Aestuum:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Perseid Meteor Shoots Past Andromeda & M32

Tim Benko took this awesome picture on Thursday night into Friday morning (August 13-14) 2015... the day after the peak. He 
captured this very nice Persied Meteor with the tell tale “Trail” of material behind it.
This material trail is technically known as a “Train”.  In this image you can see it as the green and the bottom of the meteor which seems to wrap around and follow it. Adjacent to the meteor are M31 & M32.  
The image was captured with a Canon T2i using a 50mm prime lens at F1.4.
Five exposures were stacked. Each exposure was 13 seconds at ISO 1600.
Special thanks to Jim Roselli for help with the processing.
[Keith - According to my American Meteor Society inquiry, the green glow is caused by Nickel, while the yellow is Sodium]

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Barnard's Star ~ Images over three year period shows proper motion

This image was taken by NJAA member, Perry Arts:

Attached is a stacked image of Barnard's Star, taken over 3 years. It shows the star's proper motion, 10.4" per year.
The images were taken on:
                  July 4, 2013
                  June 30, 2014
                  Jul 8, 2015
Camera: Celestron Nightscape 8300 OSC
Exposure: 20 seconds, binned 2x2

Thank you Perry... 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Some more shots come in from the NJAA Perseid Meteor Shower Public Night

These images are from Jim Roselli ~ Nice shots, using a deep red filter over his flash then converting the images to b&w.  Taken of the lawn behind the observatory

The Perseid Meteor Shower at the observatory

This is a small addition to Jim's previous post... 
I took this green night-vision goggle view of some of the public attending Wednesday, again using my Galaxy5 camera. 
I though it was an interesting perspective and it also gave me an opportunity to chase off four rascally raccoons wandering around the perimeter. They were obviously looking for bits of food amongst the packed people sitting and laying on blankets oblivious to the  scoundrels nearby. 
I'm sure some of them thought I was probably a little wacky as I ran around hissing and barking at the animals as they casually wandered back into the trees.


My Stay at the Summer Star Party...2015

my apologies for being about a week late with this post... for some unknown reason I lost access to the blog... But now I'm back!
It took about 4.5 hours to get to the star party campsite and I immediately began setting up my gear.
I got a lot of visitors from astronomy clubs all over the northeast and gave out membership 
applications to a few people interested in our big observatory (with darker skies than they were used to from their New York City metropolitan area).
I had only two small scopes with me due to space constraints with my truck. The scope on the left is a 102mm Explore Scientific APO refractor on a CG5 mount that was tracking perfectly throughout my stay. I saw over 25 deep sky objects as well as Saturn and Neptune. I didn't do any imaging though.... I think I was too into the social aspect of the star party to bunker down with a laptop and camera glaring in my face.
The little scope in the center is an Orion 4.5" StarBlast which I use mostly for spotting the brighter objects quickly as well as solar observing with the Seymour Solar Filter on the front.
It's a great scope for star parties as parent's like it's low price, ease of mobility and good optics as a started scope for the kids! 

The days were perfect as the mountain air was fairly dry during the day so the clouds would open enough at night for decent observing. Although I highly recommend purchasing a dew heater... I didn't have one and the first night it hindered my viewing especially in the eyepieces.
People with dew heaters didn't appear to have any probems and as you can see, everyone had covers. 

My views of the sun were the talk of everyone that looked through my ES with the new "LUNT White Light Solar Wedge". Word passed quickly of the contrast quality and high resolution it provided compared to a filter at the front of a scope!
Below is an image I took using my Galaxy5 ... not too bad for a phone-camera but visually and through a CCD camera the wedge is spectacular. I bought the 1.25" wedge but if I were to buy now I would get the 2" version.

Perseid Meteor Shower From NJAA, Nikon D810a First Light

With Wednesday's forecast of clear skies for the Perseid's,  everyone was excited to be at the observatory for the event.  We hosted over 300 visitors that evening and everyone had a great time.  Clouds were mixed all evening until about 1:00AM with a 90 minute break.  I was testing the Nikon D810a AstroPhotography camera for the first time using a CamRanger for control with my iPhone (great combination).  All images were shot using ISO 6400, 15sec exposures and a Nikon 14-24mm at 14mm / F4.0.  The CamRanger is a hotspot that connects to your camera with a USB cable and wifi to your idevice.  The 810a is a 36Mpix image so each raw file is 49MB in size.  This takes about 20 seconds to download to the device when viewing the image with CamRanger.  So I set the image quality to small jpeg for focusing and downing in 2 secs.  Wouldn't you know that just as I focused the camera and took the final small jpeg,  I captured this.  So I didn't have a big raw file to to process.  Well at least I captured one.  Once my focus was set, I changed the image quality to RAW and went on with shooting my sequences.

So this is titled "Milkyway above, Perseid in the middle and light pollution below"...

Since I was taking series of images, I stacked this next image using StarStacker.  I used the Comet Tail feature of the software to make the leading edge of the star look like a Comet.  You can adjust the comet tail length as you wish.  This was a stack of 50 images (50x15sec) giving a 12.5 min in total.  StarStacker lets you if you like, output an individual frame to an external file for each image it stacks.  You can then take those images, import into a video editor, time each frame and make time-lapse of the star trail.  This is how I did the star trail videos on the NJAA's YouTube Channel.

And finally, the same scene with 200 images stacked (43x15sec) 43min.  No comet trail option.  Man , thats lots of stars!  Note in the center bottom just above the trees, there seems to be a meteor.  Its not.  Its a slow moving tumbling booster or other space item, that spanned a number of frames.

As NJAA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, when shooting I often think about the nigh sky view that the founders witnessed in 1965.  Although our Dark Sky meter was showing a NELM (Naked Eye Limiting Magnitude) of 5.9 that evening, the dome of light pollution is evident in all but the shortest of exposures.  So please use "Dark Sky Friendly" exterior lighting when building or renovating.
Clear Skies to all,
Jim Roselli

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Upcoming Summer Star Party in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts

Just a reminder that the largest star party in the northeast will occur this August 7 -16th.
I plan to be there with my 102mm refractor and all my camera gear for the entire week, unless the weather washes me out! 
There may still be time to register to go up so check out this link for more current information.

Mmmmmm ~ dark skies! I hope to bring my 10" Newt as well but space will be the deciding factor. 
I hope to see some of you up there... if you go, be sure to look for the  NJAA banner and say hi.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Houston, the Eagle returns

I took this image to test a field flattener lens set that Tim Schott loaned me, I wanted to use my DSLR with my fast F4.7 10" Orion Dob but the focus was inside the draw tube of the OTA. Apparently it works pretty well as it's obviously focused and I can now get about 15° horizontally which is good for solar and lunar imaging of the whole object.

Thanks Tim, I'll return it as soon as I try a couple more tests... if ever the clouds would break open!

Also I was laying on my hammock one evening and saw the moon with this churning jet trail nearby so I grabbed the Nikon and took couple shots. 
I think it's cool ~ the sharp contrast within the moon and the wispy texture of the vapor....
Then I noticed the bird flying high above. I never noticed it by eye, but with a little zooming into the image I discovered a Bald Eagle soaring by! Another image showed his mate soaring a few hundred meters from him.
What a pleasant surprise!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Moon during last night's great seeing...

So, I've finished processing the moon images and came up with a few.... I had such fun last night as the weather was excellent for astronomy. I wish the light pollution would be as obliging. Anyway the planets aren't as effected by that.
They are all from your viewpoint as seen here on earth using my Explore Scientific 102mm Refractor at a FL of 700mm and a 2.5x Televue Barlow.
The camera was a ZWO ASI120MM monochrome CCD

 This shows the Sea of Tranquility with the Sea of Fertility belowand the Sea of Crisis above.

This view shows the Alpine Valley Rift on the lower right edge and the round smooth interior of Plato Crater at 280x.
The Sea of Iridium is to the bottom and the merging of the Sea of Cold (right) and Bay of Dew (left) is above Plato.

The ejecta from the impact crater Copernicus (dia: 58miles/93 km) is clearly seen in this image while also showing the center mounds of crater Eratosthenes ( dia: 36miles/59km) to it's right, also at 280x.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jupiter and it's moons was spectacular last night!

Because it was so mild last night, I got out my 102mm refractor and set out to photograph Jupiter and it's moons. It seemed exceptionally clear and the seeing was as good as I've seen it all year!
 I also took some images of the moon that I will process and try to get on the blog today. I spent some time scanning it's surface. 
The pertinent data is on the image.

C'mon guys (and ladies) let's get some imaging done while the weather is nice. Soon it will be hot and the sky will be in terrible turmoil again ~ it looks like this coming week will be good!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sunspot #2305 looked fine today

Although the weather prediction for today was snow/sleet later the morning was bright and clear, allowing me to get a quick shot of the largest sunspot on the solar surface ~ #2305
The temperature was in the low 40's so the air was only moderately unstable.I took many sets but this is the first image of them, so I may have a sharper image of this sunspot later.
I also took a couple sets of Sunspot #2313 which was much smaller so I might include it later as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

There is a new naked-eye nova in Sagittarius...

Taken from Sky and Telescope

Nova in Sagittarius Brightens!
by Alan MacRobert   March 19, 2015

A 6th-magnitude nova erupted inside the Sagittarius Teapot on March 15th. It's in easy range of binoculars just before dawn — and still brightening.      Link to S&T Article

Update Thursday March 19: The Nova has brightened to about magnitude 5.2, more than a half magnitude brighter than it was at it's discovery. There's no telling when it will stop.

Finder chart for Nova in Sagittarius, March 2015
The nova is right on the midline of the Sagittarius Teapot. The horizon here is drawn for the beginning of astronomical twilight in mid-March for a viewer near 40° north latitude. The nova is about 15° above this horizon. Stars are plotted to magnitude 6.5. For a more detailed chart with comparison-star magnitudes, see the bottom of this page. 

You never know. On Tuesday, March 15th, nova hunter John Seach of Chatsworth, NSW, Australia, found a new 6th magnitude star shining in three search images taken by his DSLR patrol camera. The time of the photos was March 15.634 UT. One night earlier, the camera recorded nothing there to a limiting magnitude of 10.5.


Before and after. Adriano Valvasori imaged the nova at March 16.71, using the iTelescope robotic telescope “T9” — a 0.32-m (12.5-inch) reflector in Australia. His shot is blinked here with a similarly deep earlier image. One of the tiny dots at the right spot might be the progenitor star. The frames are 13° wide.

The Spectrum taken a day after the discovery confirmed that this is a bright classical nova ~ a white dwarf whose thin surface layer underwent a hydrogen-fusion explosion ~ of the type rich in ionized iron. The spectrum showed emission lines from debris expanding at about 2,800 km pr second,

The nova has been named Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, after receiving the preliminary designation PNV J18365700-2855420. Here's it's up-to-date preliminary light curve from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). Here is the AAVSO's list of recent observations.

Although the nova is fairly far south (at declination -28° 55' 40", right ascension 18h 36m 56.8s), and although Sagittarius only recently emerged from the glow of sunrise, it's still a good 15° above the horizon just before the beginning of dawn for observers near 40° north latitude (i.e. New Jersey ~ Keith). If you are south of there it'll be higher, if you're north it'll be lower.
Binoculars are all you'll need.

To find when morning astronomical twilight begins at your location, you can use our (S&T's ~ Keith) online almanac. (If you're on daylight time like most of North America, be sure to check the daylight-Saving Time box).

Below is a comparison-star chart from AAVSO. Star's visual magnitudes are given to the nearest tenth with the decimal points omitted.

Check back here  (S&T ~ Keith) for further updates!

Comparison-star chart for Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2

Okay, great!
Let's try to get some imaging of the new nova....
Keith Marley

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saturn is impressive today

I went outside this morning at 4:30 (31°F) to find Saturn for the first time this year and I was not disappointed.. The rings appear almost fully exposed (except for a small portion still covered by the planet) and extremely tilted. 
Look for it at this time in the south, just northeast of Graffias, the northern star of the three stars in the head of Scorpius.
Graffias is also a nice double ~ check it out.
I was not prepared to take pictures today, so I only looked for a  few minutes.
Try to get some photos of the planet while it is still cold.... I'm sure you won't be disappointed either.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Just when you thought it was safe to post.....

Ok, I give up!
I promise I won't complain anymore about the sun's misbehaving.... right after my last post regarding the lack of sunspots, "Ole Sol" gave us a treat.... #2297
Hmmm,  maybe I should complain more if it means sunspots like this.

As noted: This is Sunspot #2297 and the Large spot is about 10 Earth diameters while the entire sunspot system is about one Jupiter diameter.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Sun is acting like it's already well into it's minimum phase

I've been watching the sun whenever the weather would clear enough for me to get my little solar scope out for a quick peek... and all I see is yellow! 
Very few sunspots seen these last few weeks and the ones that I saw were relatively small and unimpressive.
But I couldn't take it anymore so I got the camera out anyway to take a few sets. Each set was over 5000 images, while only 500 were usable... another unsettled daytime sky!  But I wasn't happy with the effort made ~ I got as good an image using my Galaxy S5 over the eyepiece!

Pssst ~ past it on: "Go outside and take pictures of something in the sky" 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Venus and Mars one day before conjunction, with the 2 day old crescent Moon

I decided to take my Nikon out last night (Feb 20th) to try to get a quick shot of the 2 day old (6% lit) Moon, Venus and Mars while they were rather close together. The actual Mars/Venus conjunction is actually tonight but considering that the weather wizards predict snow for our area....

I didn't have anything interesting in the foreground to add to it and it was so cold (teens) outside that I decided to just use my 300mm and get just the planets:

Keith Marley

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Io's Transit Of Jupiter

I went out last night thinking that I had to at least get some use out of my imaging equipment before the clouds rolled in again.... and Io was transiting soon.
By the time I got outside with my equipment set up and ready to go, it was passing 20°F on the downslide with winds about 3-4 mph. The scope was set up in my driveway with Jupiter about 45° elevation and two bright incandescent lights outside of my neighbor's house across the street directly below it!

The sky was clear although very unsteady when viewed under more than 200x magnification ~ plus the wind. So I think I lucked out with about 326 frames that I could stack out of a run of 575. I did six runs totaling about 500-600 frames each with one run that I was fairly satisfied with.

I used my Explore Scientific 102/700mm Apochromatic refractor on a Celestron CGEM with a ZWO ASI120mm camera and a 2.5x TeleVue Barlow.

After about an hour and a half outside in that cold I decided that I had better get in before I lost a phalanges or two....
Keith Marley

Here's the results:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NJAA Astro Photography TechNote #01, "Value" of Stacking Frames

Hello Everyone.
I've been asked many times about how many subs should be taken.  I always say take at least 20 subs without giving to much additional information.

Well I feel its appropriate that I give the background information regarding my recommendation.  I've written an article for the NJAA Astro Notes on the subject and wanted to have this group get an early look at it.

I hope that this article inspires others to write TechNotes.  We can build a library of PDF's and make a master compendium of all the articles into a single eBook.

Enjoy the article, I hope that you find it helpful.
Clear Skies,
Jim Roselli

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Comet C/2014 Q2 aka Lovejoy

Hello everyone.
This is an image that Tim Schott took of the comet from home location.